Wednesday, 9 July 2014

The Thief of Rage - An Alternative United Kingdom Independence Party - Its lack of Leaders and its cabinet

Like Cain and Abel capitalism and communism are brothers. They are twins whose very existence depends upon each other. Born into a dysfunctional family they owe their sibling hatred  to their parents, Indra Sty and Ava Rice. Locked into a perpetual feud they tear lumps out of each other inciting negative feelings in their neighbours who, after such a protracted period, deem solutions impossible to find. .

When Karl Marx wrote Das Kapital it was in reaction to the rise of capitalism. Like so many opposing concepts, like Stuckism to Brit Art, the reaction owed all to the existence of the former. Marx genius was in recognising that the one system, capitalism, was fatally flawed but whose subsequent reaction to it was to provide the Ying to the others Yang. In other words two co-opposite equals crafted from the same mould trapped forever in mortal combat.. Rather than see beyond the thing that gave birth to capitalism Marx breathed life into its sibling. This act didn't so much supply an alternative but rather added to the problem.

I once said I wasn't sure if I was a socialist. With hindsight I regret saying that All who have any sort of interest in human kind must have a social conscience. Even though I believe absolutely in the individual the one cannot exist without the collective. We are after all pack animals at heart. The individual set within the fabric of the community is how the future should be for that is how it has ever been.

I fear centralised government as I feel it overlooks the individual. It  strikes me that it comprehensively excludes the individual.preventing any form of entrepreneurial expression. It removes all sense of achievement sucking out the very sense of .freedom of expression. 

Free thinking societies prosper better than repressed ones.. 

Centralised government attempts to administer societal regulations bringing with it blanket rules and taxes that suit some but not all and yet still insists all must live beneath its diktat. It is as much a part of the two C's in house squabbling as is our education and political system.

Evolution is not just the stuff of science it can apply to political systems too. Time has come to evolve the germ of Marxist philosophy into something broader, fairer, kinder, more liberal and just but most important of all more democratic.

Neo-Distributism, without the involvement of the Catholic or any other church, offers one such possibility. It is not a new political philosophy. It is as old as the UK's Labour Party

The social philosophy of Distributism is the ancestor of today’s radical movements in defence of life, ecology, the family, agriculture, small shops and small communities. In the early 20th century it opposed corruption in business, the media and politics. The core idea was very simple: to encourage the wider distribution of private and productive property throughout society. This required devolving economic and political responsibility to the lowest practicable level, and strengthening the family wherever possible as the basic cell of civil society.,

Today, under the stimulus of the present crisis, a new wave of radical economic thinking draws on some of the same ideas as Distributism, while distancing itself from those earlier mistakes of judgment. The “Neo-distributists” speak of localism, decentralization, guilds, and microfinance. They support the development of civil society, small businesses and cooperative partnerships. In the UK, Phillip Blond (director of the ResPublica think-tank) claims, for example: “Today there is more concentration of wealth in fewer hands than at any time in recent history. At the same time, real wages have declined and many people are worse off in real terms than 30 years ago. People have been offered credit instead of increases in salary … For me the greatest challenge is how we solve the conflict between capital and labour so that everybody has a chance – through wider share ownership, decentralisation, mutual funds, guilds, co-operatives, for example – to own a little of something.”

"The beginning of freedom is the end of poverty and the end of poverty argue the distributists comes not with state ownership or welfare handouts but with owning the full value of what you work to create and being able to afford to buy your home, not living by another's leave.

The laurel for outstanding success in implementing distributist aims must rest with the Spanish, where following the Spanish Civil war, Don Jose Maria Arizmendiarrieta founded the Mondragon Co-operative in the Basque region. From a handful of unemployed oil lamp makers, Mondragon has grown to become the ninth largest corporation in Spain.

Unlike the isolated and fragmentary co-operative experiments in Australia and Britain, Mondragon is an expression of the broad distributist agenda that seeks not simply to sell to its members at a discount but to transform their lives. To consistently improve living standards through sustainable development and to rebuild community and culture as opposed to promoting dog-eat-dog adversarial individualism.

Mondragon co-operative runs supermarkets, banks, agricultural and manufacturing concerns, housing projects, schools, technical colleges and even a university!

The lot of the poor is improved not through welfare but through economic empowerment.

Capital is seen not as the enemy but as an instrument for social progress.

The co-operative, in the Mondragon experiment is viewed as a means by which instead of capital hiring labour, labour can hire capital.

Some see the kind of distributism which Mondragon represents as an evolutionary development of socialism, in which the role of the state is abandoned in favour of locally controlled and owned production. Others, see the Mondragon experience as a new kind of democratic capitalism, in which the wealth-generating power of capitalism has been harnessed to achieve social ends.

In the end though, if capitalism is simply about maximizing profits and standing back even if that leads to monopoly ownership, then Mondragon isn't capitalism. And if socialism is about collective ownership rather than private profit, Mondragon isn't socialism either, because Mondragon is all about making individuals and their families wealthier." - Richard Howard

Distributism  works exceptionally well provided that the workers enjoy a strong voice as workers in the organizations. Mondragon distributes the wealth throughout the basque region of Spain to its 180,000 members (I think that is the correct number). By creating a true ownership society, they created a sustainable marketplace that focuses on the value of the human being.

These then are the Neo-Distributists or perhaps the Neo-Grass Roots Democrats who would administer localised government from a central office.

Elucidator - William Blake

Elucidator - Tony Benn


Think Tanker - G.K. Chesterton

Minister of Equality - Mary Wollstonecraft

Photograph:Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley in an oil portrait by Richard Rothwell first exhibited 1840. The painting is in the National Portrait Gallery in London, England. 

Minister of Cultural Diversity  - Benjamin Zephaniah

Minister of Health - Aneurin Bevan

Minister of the Arts - Oscar Wilde

Minister of the Interior - George Orwell

Think Tanker - Clement Attlee

Resolute: Attlee may have lacked charisma but that didn't prevent him becoming one of Britain's most successful Prime Ministers

Common Law Glenda Jackson


teresa martin said...

the opening paragraph is golden, russell, absolutely priceless and on point. it certainly describes conditions on a global scale and not merely the homefront. cain and abel could definitely be dem and rep here. excellent read!

Spectra Ghostseeker said...

I like your cabinet! Think what we could accomplish with such minds at the helm.
The "everyone for themselves" attitude of capitalism has marginalized all too many people. However, as the demise of the former USSR illustrates, a communist ship run too tightly only leads to rebellion by people who want a little freedom to think for themselves.
Extremes are never in anyone's best interest.

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A Utility Fish Shed Blog

A Utility Fish Shed Blog